Defence reins supreme as Victory and Roar can’t be split

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Chances were few and far between for Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar in their Tuesday night encounter, with neither side managing to consistently break the lines of the opposing defence.

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The first chance of the match came by way of the left boot of Ben Folami, as his fifth-minute cross was just centimetres wide of Marco Rojas’ diving attempt at point-blank range.

Victory continued to test the Brisbane defence over the next 10 minutes without luck, however, the ease with which Jake Brimmer and Rojas were dicing through defenders suggested it would not be long before they troubled the scorers.

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A series of chances in the 17th minute from multiple Victory attackers was thwarted with great difficulty by the Roar, with Folami ultimately sending the ball flying well over the crossbar.

Brisbane finally got an opportunity via a James O’Shea free-kick, but the midfielder sent his cross flying meekly across the face of goal in the 20th minute. Juan Lescano mounted the pressure on Victory’s defence a couple minutes later, forcing Ivan Kelava into a diving save.

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With Victory lulling, a Jason Geria foul gifted the Roar a quality opportunity on the flank in the 30th minute. The subsequent attack and counter-attack resulted in Nick D’Agostino taking a shot to the groin courtesy of Nicholas Olsen, who earned himself a yellow card for his efforts.

With the half-time break looming, and neither side having done much damage over the previous 10 minutes, Brisbane got one last opportunity via a free-kick after Roderick Miranda infringed along the right flank. The eventual attempt by Rahmat Akbari was inches wide of the far post.

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The second half began in a similar manner to how the first-half ended, with neither side creating any substantial opportunities. A pair of corners in the 53rd minute failed to produce anything for Brisbane, with both ably taken care of by Victory.

Victory coach Tony Popovic clearly felt that a change was needed, and so brought off Folami and Rai Marchan for Chris Ikonomidis and Leigh Broxham in the 57th minute.

Ikonomidis’ impact was almost immediate, as he flew down the left flank moments after coming on to force a corner, but Victory were again unable to trouble Jordan Holmes in goal.

Victory again pushed forward via Jason Davidson, whose cross fell to D’Agostino, with the eventual save by Holmes seeing him seemingly cop a blow from Ikonomidis, with play resuming a minute later.

With the game inching ever closer to a nil-all fizzler, it seemed like neither side was willing to make a push for fear of conceding on the flipside. It was once again left to Rojas to make something happen, as he found D’Agostino with a pin-point cross for the best chance of the night, but the uncontested header went wide of the post.

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The pair were immediately brought off for Francesco Margiotta and Nishan Velupillay, with Popovic hoping a fresh set of legs up forward might be the spark they needed.
There was certainly a step-up in terms of urgency on Victory’s behalf, but still they had nothing to show for it results-wise.

Just as it seemed like Roar had a wide-open opportunity as Cyrus Dehmie capitalised on a defensive miscue and found Luke Ivanovic, Geria slid in to make what was possibly the play of the match as he executed a clean challenge on the Roar striker in the 79th minute.

A brief dispute from the Roar sidelines, along with friendly fire between Davidson and Brimmer in the 88th minute, brought the match to a grinding halt towards the end.

With Victory playing their second game in four days, coming away unscathed with a point was a solid result, but it was far from ideal as it came against the 10th-best side in the competition. For Roar, the draw prevents them from closing the gap on Newcastle Jet and Central Coast Mariners in ninth and eigth respectively.

MELBOURNE VICTORY: 0

BRISBANE ROAR: 0

Referee: Kurt Ams

Melbourne Victory:

Ivan KELAVA, Jason GERIA, Jason DAVIDSON, Rai MARCHAN (Leigh BROXHAM 57′), Josh BRILLANTE (Birkan KIRDAR 81′), Ben FOLAMI (Chris IKONOMIDIS 57′), Brendan HAMILL, Nick D’AGOSTINO (Francesco MARGIOTTA 75′), Roderick MIRANDA, Jake BRIMMER, Marco ROJAS (Nishan VELUPILLAY 75′)

Unused Subs: Marko BULIC, Stefan NIGRO

Brisbane Roar:

Jordan HOLMES, Scott NEVILLE, Rahmat AKBARI, Luke IVANOVIC (Jesse DALEY 64′), Jez LOFTHOUSE (Alexander PARSONS 45′), Henry HORE, Jack HINGERT, Nicholas OLSEN (Joshua BRINDELL-SOUTH 45′), Juan LESCANO (Cyrus DEHMIE 70′), James O’SHEA, Kai TREWIN

Unused Subs: Macklin FREKE, Anton MLINARIC, Eli ADAMS

Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Mitchell Turner
Third Year Undergraduate Arts Student at Monash University (Journalism Major). Generic sports tragic living out my failed dreams of going pro vicariously through other people.

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